Copyright and COVID-19

The Australian Copyright Council recognises the extraordinary efforts and initiatives that our affiliate members and the broader creative community have made in meeting the challenges that 2020 has brought so far. 

In light of the developing Covid-19 situation, the Council is now working remotely.

Whilst we have decided to postpone our face to face series of seminars for now, the Council’s free legal advice service will continue to operate.

We can be contacted on [email protected]  and of course our comprehensive range of free information sheets are always available on our website.

Our affiliated organisations are updating their websites specifically for their members. For information related to your sector, please go to our affiliates page . Each of our listed affiliates links to their website.

We have received many queries from users and creators about the ways in which we are interacting with copyright protected material during the Covid-19 outbreak

In addition to our information sheet Video Livestreams and Copyright the information below deals with some frequently asked questions and links to relevant resources. This list is not exhaustive and will be updated as more information and resources become available.



The spread of COVID-19 has prompted most performances, public gatherings, and exhibitions to be cancelled or are now being delivered online. Many people have also lost the secondary jobs they rely on to supplement their income as creators. 

The Australia Council for the Arts is driving a coordinated approach across all areas of the arts in providing support for those impacted. Please see the Australia Council for the Arts website and announcement from CEO Adrian Collette  and the Guide to Government COVID-19 Assistance for the Arts, See too, the Department for the Arts, in particular The Cultural and Creative Sector and COVID-19  and Targeted Support for Indigenous Arts, Regional Arts and respected charity Support Act for further information. 

Some FAQs for creators are answered in the following resources: 

Artists: The Arts Law Centre of Australia - COVID-19 FAQs for Artists and National Association for the Visual Arts - Industry Advisory Note: COVID-19 Response.

Authors: The Australian Society of Authors' updates, including - Update on response to COVID-19 , and Copyright Agency.

Composers and Musicians:

  • For:
    live streamed music concerts on individual website and live stream platforms


         - commercial and non-commercial live streams oFacebook/Instagram/YouTube platforms, and

         - subscription/ticketed live stream services



Performers and Journalists: Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) -  COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Publishers: Australian Publishers Association COVID-19 Resources




At home entertainment

In a time when we are all turning to the material produced by creators to keep us entertained, we must remember to value and respect their work and continue to remunerate them appropriately

With an increasing number of Australians staying home to help curb the spread of COVID-19, many of us are spending more time online. This has seen an increase in infringing material being both uploaded and downloaded, such as movies, music, TV series, live performances of dramatic works and literary works. 

As our creators are being hit hard by closures and cancellations, these types of infringement significantly impact their legitimate interests in the material they have createdand affect their ability to earn income from their creative work

We strongly encourage you to support creators now more than ever, by purchasing or streaming their work legally. This could mean making quarantine playlists on Spotify, purchasing audiobooks, streaming programs on Netflix, Stan or Amazon Prime, purchasing content through iTunes or paying to watch through YouTube. The Digital Content Guide links to licensed content online including music, movies, TV, books, games and sport.  Many local and international creative companies are streaming performances through their websites, too.

Many local and international creative companies are streaming performances through their websites, too.




Many educational institutions have moved to online teaching and learning. This heightens the risk of copyright infringement as works are being reproduced and communicated more broadly. 

To minimise risk, educators are encouraged to access licensed material where possible or send students links to material rather than make reproductions available via online learning platforms

Where this is not possible, what is allowed by educational statutory licences will generally be allowed in a digital classroom setting. However, common sense steps must be taken to ensure that risk of infringement is minimised.
The Copyright Agency also has information available here - Does the education statutory license apply to remote learning by students?  and here Guidelines for Online Teaching.

APRA AMCOS has put together their COVID-19 Response - Important Information for Schools explaining the special provisions they have put in place to allow for the digital reproduction of sheet music in schools.

The Australian Publishers Association (APA), the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and the National Copyright Unit (NCU) have made special arrangements for online school story times,

The National Copyright Unit has prepared Remote & Online Learning During the COVID-19 Outbreak  guides for schools and TAFEs which outline general guidelines and best practice approaches.

University educators may contact their university copyright officer or contact the Council through our legal advice service with specific questions.


Libraries, Archives, Museums, Galleries

The most frequently asked question we have received in relation to libraries has been about the copyright implications of moving children’s story time online.

In response to this, Books Create Australia has reached an industry agreement sanctioning virtual storytimes for the duration of the pandemic.  
The Copyright Agency has information on Reading Stories Online.

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has also created an online space for Australian libraries to share their strategies in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and will keep libraries updated as the crisis develops. 
Australian Libraries Copyright Committee has also put together some resources -  Remote supply - information for libraries and archives during the COVID-19 shutdown

Where these institutions are engaging in educational instruction, the same general rules apply as for the education sector. Please see the Education section, above for further explanation.

Other Users of Copyright Material

For businesses such as fitness centres, exercise instructors and dance teachersOneMusic has put temporary arrangements in place for online use of music: Live streamed classes during COVID-19.

For religious institutions, please see PPCA’s - Covid-19 Update - Religious Institutions: Live Streaming